Join SCPL as we celebrate our local connection to Juneteenth and the significance of this holiday in American History. Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19th and is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day. The word Juneteenth comes from combining June 19th into one word and commemorates June 19, 1865 as the day over two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston Texas to enforce the freeing of the slaves. While there were many similar celebrations over the decades there was no cohesive celebration across the country, it has only been the last 20 years that the celebration has grown to be nationally recognized.
Historic Freedom Flag
Brad Steinecke of the Kennedy Room explains the significance of a hand-sewn American flag in the library’s collection that was once held at the head of a parade through downtown Spartanburg in September of 1865.
Spartanburg Historical Digital Collections
Black history in the Spartanburg area remains obscured by the biases and scarcity of early records. By 1790, the first year with a reliable population estimate, Spartanburg County was home to 866 black slaves and 27 "free persons not white," representing about 10% of the total population. At the time of emancipation, some 8,300 African-Americans lived in Spartanburg County, around 30% of the total population. Today Spartanburg County is about 21% black. The continued triumph of Spartanburg's black community over the marks of slavery and prejudice is a powerful story worth telling. The items featured here sample some of the library's holdings that illustrate that story.